The on-again, off-again war between Utah Jazz forward Adrian Dantley and his coach, Frank Layden, flared again over the weekend.
Last season, the two clashed when Dantley, a former DeMatha High School standout, held out at the start of the season for a new contract. Eventually, after some grumbling by Layden (also Utah's general manager) about the team being held captive, the Jazz gave Dantley a three-year deal estimated at $1 million a season.
The captaincy -- which Layden had taken from Dantley during the holdout and swore would never belong to him again -- was restored at the start of this season. It was, in fact, part of the reason for the most recent skirmish, which occurred after a 105-103 win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
According to sources, Layden lit into rookie forward Karl Malone after the game regarding his poor performance from the free throw line. Malone, a 48 percent shooter for the season, went two for six in the game, including three misses in four attempts in the closing seconds.
Hearing the talk, Dantley came to Malone's defense, which angered Layden.
"Frank told Adrian that A.D. didn't respect him and Adrian replied that Frank really didn't respect him, either," said a source. "Frank really just lost his cool."
The coach sent Dantley back to Utah instead of accompanying the Jazz to Portland, where they played the next evening, saying that the matter would be settled Monday. After a meeting yesterday among Layden, Malone, Dantley and team president David Checketts, the Jazz issued a statement saying that Layden had levied his first discretionary fines in his five years as the team's coach.
For "making statements detrimental to the good of the team," Malone was fined two cents. Dantley was docked all of "30 dimes" ($3), to be deducted from his paycheck.
Layden said both fines were symbolic -- Malone's "for getting in his two cents' worth" during a public shouting match in Phoenix and Dantley's for the biblical reference to 30 pieces of silver given to Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus Christ.
Immediately after the meeting, the team practiced, with Dantley back at his customary small forward spot on the first team.
But Dantley wanted another statement issued, this one saying that he wasn't sent home to Utah because of a disciplinary problem. However, Checketts held firm, saying only that Dantley had "done what he felt was necessary."
After Monday's practice, Dantley said he was not totally satisfied with the meeting.
"I don't agree with being sent home over the weekend, and I'm concerned with how my image was tarnished," Dantley said. "I'm embarrassed for my mother and my wife."
Dantley said that he planned to be in the lineup for the team's game Wednesday night against Golden State. He said he might speak out about the situation that day.
"I know he's extremely angry right now," a source said. "In a little while, he may say that he wants to be traded."